All good managers know that a motivated employee is a productive one. It’s simple. Motivation, however, can be very abstract and some things like self-drive, personal values and determination are beyond an employer’s control. This is not absolute, however. You may begin to notice that even your most driven, hardworking and ethical staff lose morale. The quality of their work declines, their attitude worsens, or they become more eager to leave. When this happens, it is a sign that your internal business processes are designed to break rather than build your employees. What is it exactly that you are doing wrong? Here are a few clues:
Your hardest workers have probably already mapped out their careers. They have goals and a strategy that they expect will get them there. Nothing will make them lose motivation faster than knowing they put in the work diligently and then finding out, through observation or experience, that this will not be rewarded. Growth includes promotions, bonuses and salary bumps, job security, extra benefits, and equity in the company.
As part of management, your job is to ensure people are doing their job in a satisfactory manner. However, if you are always micromanaging, it means your team does not feel trusted to perform their duties. Even worse, they might be hesitant to suggest new ways to improve things in the firm because they presume that you wouldn’t be interested in hearing them out.
One of the biggest pain points for staff is not feeling recognized when they do well. Whether they beat an impossible deadline, landed a new client or found a way to cut costs and increase efficiency, they want to feel acknowledged. Recognition is does not always have to be monetary although that would be nice too – it could also be in the form of praise, perks like time off or freebies. At the very least, be as quick to congratulate as you are to criticize or chastise.
Many managers get preoccupied by ensuring each employee does his or her job and forget that one of their jobs ensure that everyone performs as one cohesive unit. Individuals could be really talented and dedicated to their work, but if they do not gel with others in the team, motivation will dip and they may be propelled to leave. If you notice factions in your team, work actively to disband them or at least make sure they do not interfere with teamwork.
If staff does not understand what exactly they are working towards, they begin to feel that their work in meaningless and ultimately, they lose verve for it. This is especially true for the most dedicated employees whose motivation comes from within. For this reason, you must constantly communicate the vision and mission of your organization so that they are inspired and have a sense of purpose.
Ultimately, motivated employees give you the greatest value. They are enthusiastic, creative, productive and are more efficient. Most importantly, they help you achieve goals quicker. Keeping employees, however, is hard work. It requires relentless effort, communication and openness, and a genuine desire for a team’s success. In the end, though, it is an effort worth making.
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